Online counselling is an exciting and novel way of delivering psychological support. It allows us to reach people far away, those who cannot attend in-person therapy for health or other reasons, or those who prefer the comfort of their home or office. Online or virtual counselling is suitable both if you prefer keeping therapy online and if you are already attending in-person therapy and want to supplement your treatment with virtual therapy sessions.
The basics of online counselling are grounded in the principles of general psychotherapy. A growing body of research shows that we can adapt some of the most effective psychotherapeutic techniques to the virtual realm.
We have a team of expert Psychologists and Psychotherapists who can provide online counselling, including online Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, among other approaches. Another perk of online psychotherapy is that you can start seeing an online therapist with practically no wait time.
Book a 15 min FREE phone consultation with one of our psychologists today.
What is Online Counselling?
Counselling works in precisely the same way as face-to-face therapy, but it is conducted online. Each session lasts 50 minutes, usually via video link using software such as Skype, Zoom, Google Hangouts, MS Teams, Facetime etc. You can use your computer or smartphone to connect with your therapist.
At Therapy Central, you can have online counselling sessions on the same day and time each week. One of the unique benefits of remote psychotherapy is that it’s more flexible than traditional in-person therapy. It is easier to schedule and complete virtual sessions, and as there’s no commute, clients and therapists can save precious time.
Though online counselling has been happening for some time now and steadily growing in popularity, COVID-19 lockdowns have given a significant impetus for the final adoption of this therapeutic medium.
Is Online Counselling Effective?
Does Online Therapy Work?
Online psychotherapy is an effective way to tackle your issues and improve your mental well-being. This is what scientific research and our experience with thousands of online therapy hours tell us. Some people may be concerned that remote counselling is ineffective as you’re not in the same room as your therapist. While this is an understandable concern, numerous researchers have tested the effectiveness of online counselling, proving that this is an excellent way to treat psychological issues .
According to the NHS, e-therapy can effectively treat depression, stress, and anxiety.This makes sense when you think about it, as we’re already using modern technology for daily communication with our friends and family and work. Video calls have become part of our everyday lives. When seeing someone in person is not an option, video calls allow us to see their faces, smiles and tears and give us a more personal experience than a phone call.
Psychotherapy mainly involves conversation and nonverbal communication and can be delivered very effectively online.
Online Counselling is as Effective as Face-to-Face Therapy
Some studies even suggested online counselling to be more effective than face-to-face therapy. Progress achieved via remote therapy was maintained over extended periods, especially in the (sizeable) group of individuals who preferred online counselling over face-to-face therapy .
Online Therapy does not prevent an effective Therapeutic Relationship
You may worry that it will be hard to bond with an online psychotherapist. Studies show no difference in the therapeutic relationship between therapist and client, whether face-to-face or online . This is also supported by our clinical experience at Therapy Central, practising online therapy, alongside face-to-face therapy, for several years. In some cases, online psychotherapy can facilitate a more personal relationship with a therapist than when people see therapists face-to-face. This might be especially useful for people with social anxiety or who generally experience high levels of inactivity and social withdrawal.
Online Counselling: Is It Safe?
Qualifications and Vetting of Online Therapists
As long as online counselling is delivered by accredited and vetted professionals like ours, you can rest assured that it will be safe. Nonetheless, it can be a minefield out there trying to get your head around all the different terms (psychologists, counsellors, psychotherapists) for remote therapists and knowing if they have the right level of education, qualification, experience, and expertise to help you.
At Therapy Central, we have a team of highly qualified and experienced practitioners, including Clinical and Counselling Psychologists, counsellors and psychotherapists, who have been thoroughly vetted. Hence, you are in safe hands if you decide to receive online therapy through our service! Feel free to take a look at our team.
Online Payment Issues
At Therapy Central, from the very start, we completed all transactions electronically via bank transfer or credit/debit card for in-person and online therapy. We’ve developed a stable, convenient, and trustworthy system of making cashless payments for therapy.
Internet Connection Issues
We know how important it is to have a stable internet connection while delivering remote counselling. During online sessions, serious and sensitive issues are discussed. It can be somewhat frustrating to have your session interrupted due to internet problems. We have made sure that our online counsellors at Therapy Central have a high-speed, stable, and secure internet connection to deliver online sessions.
Moreover, we make sure to only use reputable, safe, and stable services such as Zoom, Skype, Google Meet, and other software for virtual communication via computer/smartphone.
Privacy and Confidentiality
Some people can be concerned about privacy issues in online counselling. At Therapy Central, we avoid modes of online communication that have privacy issues. While it can be your choice what platform to use, we suggest more privacy compliant options. The services we use invest a lot in cybersecurity, which further assures the confidentiality and security of information.
We’ll always check in with you about the communication tool you feel most comfortable using.
Maintaining safety, confidentiality, and anonymity is part of our ethical and professional values, enshrined in the BPS, HCPC, UKCP, BABCP and BACP codes of conduct, which are the professional bodies regulating the practice of our therapists.
Online Therapy Approaches
As is the case for face-to-face therapy, there are many types of online therapy, used for treating various psychological issues, for instance, online CBT for anxiety. Below you’ll find a list of approaches which fit remote therapy:
- Regarding empirical research, the best online therapy is remote CBT , which is also true for third-wave psychotherapy approaches (i.e. ACT, CFT, etc.) developed from CBT.
- Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
- Compassion-Focused therapy (CFT)
- Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)
- Cognitive-Analytic Therapy (CAT)
- Schema Therapy (SFT)
- Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT). DBT and Schema Therapy (SFT) can be particularly helpful for those struggling with personality disorders .
- Online EMDR. Eye-movement desensitisation and reprocessing therapy (EMDR) is usually used to resolve trauma related to PTSD. Typical EMDR techniques, such as bilateral stimulation of brain hemispheres, can be effectively delivered online via your computer or smartphone screen.
- Person-Centred (Humanistic Therapy)
- Psychodynamic Therapy
A wide variety of psychotherapeutic approaches can be delivered remotely. You can find more information on these approaches and how we can treat various psychological issues with their help by browsing our “Issue” and “Therapy” sections. You can also read our more specific articles on online therapy for particular problems, such as online trauma therapy (you’ll find these in our “Blog”).
Online Couples Counselling
Online couples counselling is also a promising application of the online modality to the world of counselling :
- Couples nowadays have a lot of responsibilities, and it can be very challenging to juggle work, family life, friends, etc.
- Online couples therapy can thus be a good way for couples to work on their problems while saving time for other essential activities, such as spending time with children.
Online Family & Group Therapy
The same is true for general group therapy, which can be appropriately administered online . Getting many people to sit in the same room every week for a certain amount of time can be tricky. With the help of Zoom, Skype, etc., it can be much easier to be consistent with group or family therapy.
Phone consultations and Texting Therapy
You may feel more comfortable simply talking with a therapist, not necessarily having a video call over Zoom or Skype on your computer or phone. In these cases, telephone therapy sessions can be arranged.
We do believe video calls are a more powerful tool than the phone alone. Hearing and seeing your therapist is crucial for establishing a strong therapeutic relationship. However, there may be times when this isn’t possible. Perhaps your video isn’t working (e.g., camera or software issue), or you may feel more comfortable talking to your therapist via an audio call. In these circumstances, you can use the audio call option for your online sessions or the phone.
While texting therapy is used in some contexts, we don’t offer texting therapy as a separate service. However, texts can be a tool for communication, depending on your mutual agreement with one of our therapists.
Advantages of Online Counselling
There are several benefits to online counselling, some of which make it superior to face-to-face therapy:
More Convenient: You save time and money by not having to travel to meet your therapist.
More Flexible: You can choose to have regular sessions on the same day and time each week/fortnightly. Alternatively, you can choose from a list of available therapy slots your therapist has each week/fortnight.
Potentially More Comfortable: Some people feel more comfortable opening up when having therapy or counselling online.
Avoid Long Wait Times: When seeking help via the NHS, there can be very long waiting times for therapy, often at least a year. At Therapy Central, we have numerous available therapy slots where you can see a therapist online immediately.
Private Healthcare Insurance Covered: Following the COVID-19 Pandemic, more and more private healthcare insurance providers are approving virtual therapy sessions. If you are covered by insurances such as AXA Health, VitalityHealth, Cigna, WPA and more, you’ll be able to use your membership to cover the cost of therapy or counselling online.
What can Online Counselling help with?
Most psychological issues can be treated online. Online depression therapy, for instance, is a promising path to take as some of the symptoms of depression (e.g., lack of motivation, inactivity, fatigue) may make it harder to meet a therapist in person.
We also provide online therapy for teens and adolescents. Young people are well-acquainted with modern technology and can significantly benefit from online therapy without needing to travel to a physical consulting room.
How much does Online Counselling Cost?
|Fees for sessions||Fee|
|A 15 Minute initial Phone consultation with a therapist||FREE|
|Psychological Therapy/Counselling (Self-funded)||£75 -£95|
|Couples Therapy/Family Therapy||£105 - £120|
|Psychological Therapy/Counselling with trainee therapist||£55|
|Concessions for students/low income/NHS Workers||£60|
|Insurance cover by AXA, AVIVA, CIGNA US/UK, WPA and Vitality||Variable|
Book Online Counselling today
Online counselling is an effective, widely-used, and convenient way to access psychological support. It’s one of the most promising paths developed in psychotherapy. Online therapy has many advantages, such as convenience, flexibility, no long wait times, and coverage by private healthcare insurance.
The therapeutic benefits of online counselling are akin to the benefits of psychotherapy in general. Improving interpersonal functioning and mental well-being; better management of mood, anxiety and stress you’re experiencing, are just some of the most important benefits you can expect to gain, depending on what you decide to work on with your online therapist. Our online therapists will tailor their approach to your unique needs and circumstances, and work with you collaboratively.
Book with a therapist or request a free 15 minutes phone consultation with a highly trained psychology professional.